Any creative suggestions to bringing in business in a small town?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by heavenlymom, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. heavenlymom

    heavenlymom TPF Noob!

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    I just opened my studio in April and am living in a small country town.
    There isn't to many that read the local newspapers and the pricing to place ads in the bigger newspapers is not in my budget right now.
    Does anyone know of a good way to bring in business or even get the word out about my business without spending to much. I would like to find creative ways to do this. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
     
  2. rub

    rub TPF Noob!

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    Word of mouth is great. Always have your business cards on hand, and go lots of places with your camera. I have found that most times I am approached, its because I am out somewhere taking photos.

    Offer your servicesfor a discounted rate (if that works for you) or volunteer your time for a local event. Enter local contests, start a club, maybe teach a class.

    I know that I don't have the budget to advertise, but somehow new people hear about me all the time!

    Best of luck!
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, word of mouth is key...and getting out there to meet & talk to people should help as well. I'd suggest that you have a presence at any and all functions where the town folk will be. Church, farmer's market, festivals etc.

    You might try a promotional event. I've seen a few photographers who have a 'pictures in the park' day. They have an open invitation for anyone and everyone to come down to a local park (or to your studio) for a free portrait sitting. You make appointments every 15, 20 or 30 minutes....so they are pretty quick sessions. You can then sell them prints, you might even include a free print to get it started. But the important part is that you have that opportunity to meet them and have them sit for you. If they like what they see, the will know who to call for photos from then on.
     
  4. 93rdcurrent

    93rdcurrent TPF Noob!

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    You can also start a small but personal photoshoot for the important women in your area... like women on the city council, in emergency services, owners of businesses, etc. Ask if you can photograph them for a series of the local important women. See if you can get it displayed somewhere that is prominent but also public, like the townhall. From here the women you shoot are likely to use you for their family portraits. Plus it's a free and fun way to get your work out there.
     
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Make better photographs. In order for word of mouth to work for you, the "word" has to be how good you are.

    Think about what you want folks saying. You want people to share how pleased they are with your images, how easy it is to work with you, that you provide an excellent value (not low prices, rather how much value they got for their money), that you are creative, that you have a wonderful facility, and so on.

    When I say "better" photographs, I mean better than you were doing last year. And next year, better yet. Word of mouth is a gradual process. So as time goes by, continue refining what you do. Get to some seminars, buy some training programs, improve your presentation, increase the service you provide to your customers.

    Bring the big city experience to your small town.

    Good luck!

    -Pete
     
  6. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Small town, get some flyers made up offering family portrait sittings for christmas at a discounted rate, say 2/3rds of normal price, include a low res cd of all images, (40 or so) and one enlargement of their choice, do some legwork with the flyers, take their bookings, do a lot of work and watch the cash roll in. Works for me every year and usually reprints/enlargements of the low res images keep me busy through the winter. H

    PS. By the way, you need to get organizing this asap, state that the offer only applies Nov. 1 till Dec 20 or so depending on your competance/printers/workflow etc etc, it can get pretty hectic at times.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A lot of what Flash Harry said!

    Point out that a framed portrait makes a nice gift. You should also be hitting the events- plays, concerts and the like. Sell a 5X7with a $2 frame for $15 and have them pick it up (when you can also tell them about your other services). If you can sell a hundred @ a net of $12 then your Christmas bonus will be $1200. Any formal sittings, weddings, conformations, sweet sixteens, baby/maternity shoots that come are icing on the cake.

    Oh and don't forget about coffee mugs, key-chains, buttons and any number of other things that you can have a photo placed on that you can sell- once you get someone thinking in that direction.

    And the number one thing- ALWAYS do what you say! And do it at least 10 minutes before you say it will happen. :)

    Customers come and go all the time, but if you loose one they are gone forever.
     
  8. photographyaddict

    photographyaddict TPF Noob!

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    u could offer to do a free deal with a local org or school event then have them promote ur photography that way.
     

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